Saturday, April 19, 2014

Darien and Gene-Gene

We are not supposed to call him, Gene-Gene anymore. He will be seventeen in a week and he is Eugene. I'm not a superfan of Boy Scouts, but it has given him direction and purpose. He wants to be an Eagle. He is working hard and he is getting his Star status after a weekend of volunteering.

In his life, Gene-Gene has had one constant. His love for animals. When I was at a race in 2002, Darien was born at my in-laws. Darien, a small, but loving cat. Loving if you were my son. Indifferent, at best, to the rest of the family. Most cats in homes with huskies die by Husky. Not Darien. When Mani-Nana came into our lives, he sidled up to her and swatted her across the nose. She never bothered a cat at all. Darien was not tolerating that.
Darien did not want to be left behind.
He loved broccoli. No, he was not supposed to have it and he didn't eat it. He held it in his mouth and growled at you till he was done killing the horrible vegetable.

Last summer, after we lost Mani-Nana, Darien began to lose weight. The vet thought it was thyroid. He was the right age. All his tests came back normal. The answer, cancer. We left it in my son's hands. How long, how far, and how much. We would provide the money, but there was not much we could do. It was bad. Darien never let us know, other than weight loss. He got thinner, but never lost his spirit and did not seem in pain. He stole a piece of chicken out of my hand last Saturday and ate it. Darien liked protein and you needed to guard your plate.

This week he seemed cold. I held him. He was not in distress. I know animals in distress and Darien was thin, but not hunching, he ate, etc. Early Friday morning I noticed he was on my bed. I asked my husband to take him to Gene. He was sleeping, but he had a tendency to eat the bed. For a six pound cat, he needed room. At 5 Gene-Gene came in and said Darien was throwing up. At 5:45 he came back in and said it was time. Darien had begun seizing without notice, except for the vomiting, which was new. The vet opened at 8. At 7:10 we went to check on Darien and Gene-Gene. Gene-Gene was asleep. his hand on Darien's head. Darien was gone. It must have happened quietly, and peacefully. He was sick for an hour. Truly sick. He hung on and did not let on, for a long time. They were together. I know he had an hour of pain, but that was it. I've been over and over if we missed suffering, I don't think so. We, as a family, do not tolerate suffering in an animal who cannot understand. Darien just got a little sicker, at a time, so it was his norm. He died like he was born and lived, with the boy that chose him and that he chose.

I can't make this better for my son. He is still waters, and they run very deep. He does not think I understand that, but I do. He fights to keep emotion off his face. Part of it is his Tourette's. Those ticks happen, but rarely now. Part of it is Gene is stoic.

Darien will be followed by other cats. Gene-Gene has another one, but Darien was more than a cat. They were best friends. He is buried in a box in our garden, wrapped in a shelter snuggle I knit for him when he got thin. I put a note in a plastic bag in the box that tells anyone who finds him who he was and what he meant to my son. It will outlast his remains. We will remove it in a few years, so the ground does not have the plastic in it.

Darien was more than a cat. Gene-Gene is more than a normal boy. Yes, he treats me like yesterday's dog doo, but he loves me and his father deeply. Far more so than he will ever let on.

Darien was a part of  my son and I don't know how to fix it. I can't. Time will. Love will. Just being there. Love and acceptance is what he needs. I want to do that and not smother. I would smother if he would let me. I respect his need not to be. Today he goes to work on his volunteer work. He needs to. He is running out of time and he needs time to breathe.

Yesterday, he slept.

We think the loss of an animal is not as important as the loss of a person. I say, that depends on the animal and the person who lost him. Darien was a member of the family. Cherished, loved, depended on. Darien was there when Gene-Gene's Tourette's was so bad he could not speak a sentence. School was a nightmare. Darien did not tease, no laugh, just accepted. A true friend. Someone who can never be replaced. I loved Darien too, but Gene-Gene, I can never explain that to anyone.

You either get it, or you don't.

We will miss you D. Eugene, most of all.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Done with Boneyard

I am thinking pink shawl, green border. Dream in Color Smooshy from the Loopy Ewe.


I finished my Boneyard Shawl. No photos. I'm washing it today and it looks like cat fur with a shawl attached. Serves me right for leaving it in a neat pile, on the chair the cat has claimed as his. You know where a 20 pound cat sleeps? Anywhere it wants to.

I have the first Vlog-cast in the can, but it needs to be edited. Something I thought I could do today, but Gene had to be at work at 4 am to re-boot some servers. The first Tuesday after the second Monday of each month. Herne needs his hair washed and cannot do it himself. I cannot wash it because Herne is getting too adult looking and he is having a hard time doing it alone. So, it's not my job. Gene has to. I stand by the door, so there are no questions about propriety and Gene washes hair fast. I do wish he could do it alone, but the bubbles really upset him. It's an autism thing. So, Herne is staying home and making use of his time by learning to use Photoshop. He's really very good at it. Far more so than a ten year old should be. It's not a special gift. It's the ability to lock out the universe and concentrate on one thing. Autism allows that. Better than the five hundred things my sorry brain is working on at once. ADHD, the gift that keeps you confuddled.

I have a clean oven, and can dye yarn today. I may, if Gene is awake when he gets home about noon. That is the benefit of going to work before the birds are up. He comes home early. He also does not compensate by sleeping early the night before and tends to fall asleep mid-afternoon. I can't. One nap and I'm up half the night.

I also have research on color trends to do for next fall. I predict fall colors and someone doing a military look. You can count on one designer doing military for fall and nautical for summer every year.

Sam #Zell said yesterday that if more people wanted to make more money they should work harder. He's a real estate tycoon in Chicago. I did some contract work for him in the 90's. I remember the day they called their entire IT staff in and fired them while we changed their passwords. If you won't give opportunity, then shut up. He saved very little and lost a lot of loyal employees. I felt sick and do to this day. I'd rather work for myself, harder than I've ever worked for less, than someone like him in any capacity. You can't be someone who does not value your employees and fires them to save very little in the long run and a lot of good will. He's also a famous grump. Makes Trump look warm and fuzzy. Oh, and I'm taller than he is. I'm 5'2". He just fires at will and is famous for it. I've seen it, so it's not rumor. Those poor IT people. I think of them often.

Stay warm and gift yourself a hobby. It makes life more enjoyable and delicious.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Post Wherein I Will Not Mention the Weather, Cause We All Have It.



Yaps enjoys Dad as a pillow.
Let's just say it's a, drink hot coffee and snuggle cats day. Perhaps cats you steal from others, so you can all be warm. 

Favorite project of the moment, my Herbivore, by Stephen West The Yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts  Cashmere Sock from Eat Sleep Knit, in Mallard.
I'm plugging along on my three live knitting projects and trying to come to grips with the horrific number of snow-days, and my alarming amount of newly grey hair. It's alarming. The phone did not ring at 6 this morning, a call of doom to parents all over the Ann Arbor School District, and I jumped out of bed to do the, "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!" dance in my ratty nightgown. I don't know when I stopped caring about cute nighties, but I have. I said it. I confessed. I am not ashamed. Okay, I'm somewhat ashamed, but this new knitting thing has me all happy and if it's a nighty, or yarn, yarn. End of story. Yarn can be undone if it all goes wrong. A fight in a nightgown sours the nightgown forever. Leaving it as the, "Nightgown we had that fight in." Okay, Gene and I rarely fight and when we do it's loud on my end only. Still, one cannot take such chances of bad mojo on a nightgown, when one can have a spiffy hat instead. So says me.

Boneyard Shawl. Pattern by Stephen West of  Westknits. Cascade Yarns Pima Cotton. No give and painful to work with.



Herein I could post pictures of what it looks like outside, but stare at a white wall for several hours, and you have the general idea. I love it. I am the Goddess of winter, the hula-hooper in the snow (I should get my husband to photograph me hooping outside). Old, big of butt, and happy in my snowy world of snowy-wonderfulness. I love it. As long as I don't have to stay out long, or, heavens forbid, attend Herne's fifth grade winter survival day. Next Thursday he goes into the woods for the day with his class. It's done every year and we are prepared. Too bad Herne is not. He needs boots. Not a problem, but it's been so cold he has not wanted to go outside except to transfer to the bus and back. No recess outside, too cold. He has not had to encounter feet frozen weather. He has mittens, several hats and a toasty coat and socks. Just not boots. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I can have a pair here in time. They will be on sale and hopefully JJ can wear them next year. Herne is alarmingly tall now, for his smallness at birth and it's bugging me. I have asked him to stop growing, but he won't. None of them fall for that, but JJ. Poor JJ is small. Not little person small, but not far from it. If the kid makes five two, I will be astounded. Five foot two inches is not really a great height for a man, but I look his grandfather in the eye, so it is very possible. Short gene's kid. Sorry.

I managed to cast off my Loopy Ewe bookmark. I've had the pattern forever and it is a nice palate cleanser in the matter of larger things.


This week I'm working on four shawls. All of which I should post pics of. Okay, now I have to stop, take pics and post them. There. Labelled and everything.

I am 18 answers in to the Hitchhiker shawl by Martina Behm. There are forty two answers in all. Question, are you nerd enough to know what this refers to, without looking it up? The Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere, in Wilderness



Stay Warm!
Darien hides under my computer desk, that hangs over my chair. Often laying on my arm and blocking all circulation.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Yarn and Fabric Stash and Rule!

Rules? There are no stinking rules. That's my rule. Seems to me that every January crafters everywhere decide this is the YEAR OF THE STASH DOWN!! Meaning, they all have intentions of buying from a large event, or not at all. Some do manage, more don't. Come on, it's a cheesecake world and you are talking about having only plain lettuce.

Angel snuggles my hand dyed Gracious Gray Alien, yarn. 


I have a different approach, not better, I am not better, just different. Buy with intent. I have more patterns than I can use. I love patterns. Each one is a novel of shape and form and I read them, like I do cookbooks, like a novel. "Oh, the Cuban stew in ___ cookbook reads like a spicy love story. Yum!!"

Patterns are potato chips. One pattern can be inexpensive, some free, but if a designer is good, I try to support them. I will buy the patterns I love. I hoard them. The knit and crochet patterns are all listed in my library on Ravelry (www.ravelry.com) and include an impressive list of designs that are some, "Yes, I will have the skills to make that, If I reach 200 and can still knit," and some, "I can do that now." So, this year I pick designs I aspire to, and buy for those patterns. I have some in my stash, but not all I need and some stash I may never use. That does not get knit into any ole thing. I am selling that to other worthy knitters. Maybe what I intended to do with it would not look good in that yarn, maybe it's an independent dyer and I want to make something I don't have enough for. I can sell it and get something that works for a, "I am doing it this year," project and buy with intent. I will make three sweaters. I have enough good yarn for two. I will decide on the third and buy for it, or dye yarn for it. Probably the latter.

Sock yarns? I can always use them, but thanks to gigantic feet, my husband has fat feet and I have very long feet with toes that could probably knit, they are so flexible, that I need more yarn than the average human when I make socks. They are not as cost effective as other things, but fun and interesting. Hats? I can never have too many and they make wonderful gifts.

Wolverine always appreciates knit items. Especially the ones I love. Really, is your outfit ever complete without cat hair?


So instead of stashing down, I am stashing useful. If I don't have enough sock yarn, it's going to someone with smaller feet. If I don't 100% love the yarn, it's being gifted, or sold. I'm passing it on. I refuse to knit with something I hate. It might be the feel. I am very tactile, or the look, not usually that. You never know. I'm just going to be more selective. Dyers are businesses who need to keep going and independent dyers need to keep income flowing in. I want to support them. To encourage creativity and growth of small companies. This is a way to do it. Make things I will use mindfully. Not just knit for the process. I am a process knitter. Finish more, get what I love and wear what I make. Gift more of what I make. It's nice enough. Not knit with something I bought five years ago that met my criteria then. I am not who I was. I am becoming. We all are. Goals change, life changes and my kids are not knit-worthy. While I'd love to make them hats and mittens, they don't care. I'm only going to knit for those who appreciate what goes into the process. I think those are reasonable goals for life. Do what you love, love what you do and work for those who appreciate your love and time. The rest can have a gift card.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bosco Sticks of Death, or why JJ hates Mondays

It's Bosco stick day. Apparently, this is a food so foul, our child who will eat ANYTHING, including pate and snails, will not deem to look at them. We were unaware. Three schools, three different lunch menus.

Bosco sticks, or the mere mention of same (I believe these are what you would order as a deep fried cheese appetizer covered with bread crumbs, but I am not sure) will turn our happy, sort of, child into a force for evil. No coaxing, begging, pleading will allow entrance onto the bus on Bosco day, without an alternate lunch.

We forgot.

"I am not going to school today and be forced to stare at that disgusting lunch. I mean it."

A calm voice, no drama, but a will of iron and a backbone of titanium met us in a wet towel and dripping hair.

The problem is, JJ looks like an angel. He is all smiley and blonde, with HUGE blue eyes the color of the sea right before the sun is about to set on a clear day. You just don't expect the evil drawn out, splatted down and dared in front of you at the mention of something with cheese in it. Of course, this would be the same school lunch program that believes ketchup is a vegetable. No one really bought that. Except Ketchup makers.

So, there would be no school until a trip to the store for a lunch. Meaning, he was late.

"Mrs. Liedel. This is JJ's school. Is he not coming in today?"

"Bosco sticks."

"We'll see him when his dad brings him in. I think they're here now."

Yep, JJ hates them and even the brand new admin knows.

Much forehead slapping and cursing under my breath. If you don't put cheese on his food, he won't eat it. However, a cheese stick? No way.

Kids.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014!

It's cold. Figure that out yet? I mean everywhere, but Alaska (for that states norm) and Hawaii. Do you know what people with remitting repeating MS like more than remission? COLD!!!! WOOHOOO!

Okay, I am more cold than I would like to be, but I'll take it over an attack. However, the children are home and not nestled. Unless that involves lobbing insults and hurling used yogurt cups at one another. I believe, hope, pray that tomorrow will see school return (the Superintendents office has not called us, and my e-mail remains joyously free of notices of closure, for now) and I will be able to get back into the swing of work, knitting and not screwing up because I had to stop and break up a fight and life in general.

My new studio is DONE! Okay, it needs a couple of things out of storage and since the area is not heated, the storage, I won't be getting that for a few days. For some reason, my husband does not want to go there in wind chill readings below -30. I can't figure out why.

I know absence R me. However, I just photographed yarn to put up on the Ravelry page, and will edit it and put up other photos tomorrow here. No photos from the holidays because I am tired of looking at the photos of children unwrapping. You know it's soon followed by the let down of not enough, no matter how much and the after holiday, "I am SO BORED!" comments. If you have kids, you get it.

Gene -Gene is very into Scouts and has made it to First Class, with only a couple things to do before star. He wants Eagle and he may get it. Steven is busy on the phone at all hours and I mean more than I was as a teen.

Herne and JJ are either fighting, or inseparable. Depends. I am happy with my work area and Gene is just himself. Happy when it's warranted, worried when it's warranted and rarely sad. An even tempered man, and a good foil for me.

Stay tuned to this space for some fun announcements and talk later. I hear swearing and discussion about said swearing which I must investigate.

Life is rich, if not the wallet. I'll take it this way any ole day.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's WAR!!

Fleas. They must die, but with no harm to anyone, or anything else. A video is on it's way. I'm so done with this. Suggestions appreciated, nothing with Essential Oils in it. They can destroy a cat's liver. Seriously.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Goat Rodeo Fiber Fiesta: Box Hab

Goat Rodeo Fiber Fiesta: Box Hab: "Do not touch the box, do not mess with the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn, and you don't get injured. Comprende?"

Box Hab

"Do not touch the box, do not mess with the Dream in Color Smooshy yarn, and you don't get injured. Comprende?"


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bathing Cats

Bathing cats should only be attempted with the utmost care and many bandages.

For the human, not the cat.